- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 2, 2009


The Israeli settlement flap reflects the adage that voters get the government they deserve. The Arab world has the Israeli government it deserves.

Arabs rejected Israel’s offer of an independent state in 2000. Hamas launched rockets from Gaza into Sderot in Israel on a daily basis. Arabs provoked Israel into brief wars in 2006 and 2009. Hamas seized an Israeli corporal nearly three years ago and keeps him in captivity. And Arab leaders issue impossible demands for a peace settlement.

These and related events frustrated Israeli voters, who in turn elected a right-wing Knesset, Israel’s parliament. Predictably, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu refused to authorize a settlement freeze, as demanded by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, who declared that President Obama “wants to see a stop to settlements - not some settlements, not outposts, not natural growth exceptions.” When put that way, how could Mr. Netanyahu refuse?

Mr. Obama persisted with the settlement demand when he met with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Friday. The question of a settlement freeze may be a valid issue, but Israelis cannot be blamed for being indifferent. Even if he wanted to accede to a settlement freeze, Mr. Netanyahu could not do so because he risks losing support from some Knesset blocs that keep him in power.

The Arabs essentially pleaded for this governing arrangement. A more dedicated campaign staff - figuratively, the Arabs - Mr. Netanyahu could never find anywhere else. They should be congratulating themselves.



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